I’m pretty sure everybody has tried at least one of these varieties at some point in their lives. We all have vague and embarrassing memories of handing some lucky hottie a tiny heart with a message that reads, “I ♥ U”, and then being mercilessly laughed at. I guess for most of you that probably occurred somewhere in grade school, but this just happened to me an hour ago. Fucking bitch.
But I digress. To celebrate a “holiday” I’m sure is pretty much universally hated, instead of a day off of work, we get candy in lots of shades of pink. Great. Most of the candy is crap, but these candy hearts are the key to my heart (awwww – just kidding. I’m a dog, remember? The key to my heart is a snausage and a pair of corduroy pants). At any rate, I knew there was only one way to discover which candy heart had the guts to be my Valentine Day Candy Of Choice™. That’s right, friends. It’s another
First up, we have:
These are the original classics, the ones we all remember from when we were kids. The have such clever phrases as, “Be Mine”, “Lover Boy”, “♥ of Gold”, and “:)”. There are six different colors and, not surprisingly, six different flavors.
Pink is cherry. White is pepperment. Green is spearmint. Purple is grape. Orange is, uh, orange. And yellow is banana. These all taste so incredibly good. I’m sure you’re all aware of what Necco Wafers are (if not, go and get some immediately — you might not like them, but if you haven’t had them you need to give ’em a try). These match up pretty well tastewise with their Wafer counterparts. Pick of the litter, though, has to be the banana flavor. Of course, there are only two or three of these per box. The texture of these I would describe as solid and chalky.
Next, we have another Necco brand entry. This time we have the Sweetheart Tarts. As advertised, these are tart versions of the original classics. Awkward phrases include, “Top Chef”, “My Man”, and the seemingly omnipresent, “♥ of Gold”. We are still treated to six different colors/flavors, but they’re not exactly what you’d expect.
Red (a darker color than the original pink) is sour cherry. Purple is sour grape. Orange is sour orange. You got it figured out yet? Bam! No, you don’t. Necco is tricky. Green is a sour lime. White is coconut. And this time yellow is lemon. Which makes sense. You can’t really do a sour candy assortment without lemon. But I kind of wish they’d tried to do a sour banana. The best of this bunch is probably the orange, but nothing sticks out like the banana from the original version. The texture to these is much different. It’s not really chalky at all. It’s softer and almost chewy. It’s better than it sounds.
Finally, we arrive at Wonka’s Sweetarts Hearts. If you’ve ever had a Sweetart in any form (and if you haven’t, you, sir, disgust me), then you know exactly what to expect here. They have such amusing slogans as, “Hug Me”, “Yes”, and “Love Ya”. But these phrases aren’t merely slapped on there by midgets with tiny paintbrushes. No, they are stamped into the candy (as you can barely make out in the picture below).
Flavorwise these are identical to regular ol’ Sweetarts, only they’re heart-shaped. There are only four different colors, but they somehow managed to pack in four different flavors. Green is sour apple. Pink is cherry. Purple is grape. And blue is fruit punch. My favorite is, of course, the fruit punch, made obvious by the fact there are maybe two per box. These are closer to the original Necco variety in terms of texture, but they’re much softer and basically collapse into a puff of Sweetart mist when you bite into them.
So there you have it. Three distinct offerings for the candy-lovin’ romantic in all of us. I’m partial to the original Necco hearts myself, but you’re free to love any or all of them. No matter what choice you make, it will let that special someone know to lower their expectations and to expect that level of disappointment not only on Valentine’s Day, but every single day for the rest of their life with you.
The Sweetarts Hearts label is somewhat misleading. While both varieties of the Necco hearts weigh in at 110 calories, the Sweetarts Hearts say they have only 60 calories. But if you look closer, the Necco calorie count is for the entire box (what they call 1 serving), while the Sweetarts Hearts call their box 3 servings, so you’re actually getting 180 calories.